2.8 of 5 (14 votes)

Alfriston to Eastbourne

A moderate walk (low hills and fells (below 600m)) in national park South Downs starting and finishing in East Sussex, England, about 14.60km (9.07 mi) long with an estimated walking time of about 4:45h. It is suitable for families with children, but unsuitable for prams & pushchairs, wheelchairs.
Elevation Profile
Ascent 175m (574ft)
Descent 71m (232ft)
Max. Elevation 150m (492ft)
Altitude Gain & Loss 246m (806ft)
Distance 14.60km
Duration ~4:45h
3Created by John Walker on 07 Dec 2014
This is the easterly end of the South Downs Way, a National Trail running from Winchester to Eastbourne. This 17 km section provides particularly good walking, with a mixture of riverside, woodland and downland stretches, finishing with the superb Seven Sisters cliff-top walk. You can reach Alfriston by bus from Polegate which has a station accessible from e.g. Clapham Junction. The walk ends on the outskirts of Eastbourne and you can get any of several bus routes to the train station (or walk).

Walk Functions


Nearby Walks

Alfriston to Southease

★★★★★ ★★★★★
A moderate, linear walk (low hills and fells (below 600m)) starting in East Sussex, England, about 10.70km (6.65 mi) long, duration: ~3:30h.

Exploring the South Downs from Alfriston to Glynde

★★★★★ ★★★★★
A moderate, linear walk (countryside) starting in East Sussex, England, about 14.50km (9.01 mi) long, duration: ~4:45h.

The Seven Sisters from Berwick via Alfriston

★★★★★ ★★★★★
A strenuous, walk (countryside) starting in East Sussex, England, about 27.00km (16.78 mi) long, duration: ~8:15h.

Walk Map

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OS Grid TQ521031
1. From the bus stop in Alfriston High Street take a path between houses which then crosses a bridge to emerge on a raised bank above water meadows alongside the Cuckmere river.
OS Grid TQ520018
2. Across the river are good views of ancient St. Andrew’s church and the Clergy House (both 14th century). The path leaves the river to detour through Litlington, then steps uphill into broadleaf Friston Forest.
About 1.28 km (~0.8 miles) from
OS Grid TQ521003
3. The path goes down hill to another tiny village of West Dean.
About 1.52 km (~0.94 miles) from
OS Grid TV523996
4. After another stepped section up through Friston Forest the path emerges above Cuckmere Haven and promptly descends to Exceat, an almost deserted village with just a few ancient buildings, now converted into the Seven Sisters Country Park visitors centre.
About 0.70 km (~0.43 miles) from
OS Grid TV520994
5. Crossing the busy main road and continuing uphill away from the Cuckmere, the rest of the walk is entirely on open grassy chalk downland all the way to Eastbourne.
About 0.37 km (~0.23 miles) from
OS Grid TV522987
A short downhill stretch goes back close to the river.
About 0.71 km (~0.44 miles) from
OS Grid TV519983
7. The next ascent is the first of several over the Seven Sisters. These climbs are not too strenuous, the descents relatively gentle and the turf is very soft underfoot.
About 0.60 km (~0.37 miles) from
OS Grid TV554960
8. There is a tea shop here (generally open). Ahead, one of the Seven Sisters is crowned with a former lighthouse, Belle Toute, now a smart hotel. There is one more descent followed by a long slow climb to the top of Beachy Head, with beautiful views of the gleaming white crumbling chalk cliffs from here all the way back to Cuckmere Haven.
About 4.15 km (~2.58 miles) from
OS Grid TV580952
9. A red and white striped working lighthouse now stands at the foot of the cliffs here. From this high point the path begins to descend to Eastbourne. Looking ahead Bexhill and Hastings are visible, as well as more distant cliffs and buildings at Dungeness.
About 2.73 km (~1.7 miles) from
OS Grid TV596968
10. The path descends to Dukes Drive, on the outskirts of Eastbourne and the official end/start of the path. You can get a bus to the train station from here (or walk if you still have the energy).
About 2.20 km (~1.37 miles) from

4 comments... join the discussion!

19 Aug 2015
GPX Not Working

Hi Charles, send us an email and we can look into it for you, better to do it that way than here! Tim

11 Aug 2015
Gpx File Not Working?

gpx files shows up as blank in my software (motionx)

08 Dec 2014
George Inn

Fully agree, Tim. The George Inn has a fantastic fireplace. Many a happy pint was drunk there. And will be, for sure.

08 Dec 2014
The Best Stretch

This is, in my opinion, the best bit of the South Downs Way. I love the swoop from Seven Sisters over to Birling Gap in particular. I would also humbly suggest doing it in reverse for a night in the George Inn in Alfriston (drinking, then camping nearby if the room prices are too high): www.thegeorge-alfriston.com

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